I saw a lot of people reading The Man Who Didn’t Call by Rosie Walsh last year, but I wasn’t interested in it. I made the mistake of judging a book by its cover.
Both the title and the cover artwork screamed ‘romantic fiction’ and I’m not much of a fan of romantic fiction. But, when I was in Waterstones the other week, I picked up a copy and read the blurb. It sounded a lot darker than I’d expected. So I bought it.
Sarah is in her late 30s. She has lived in Los Angeles for her entire adult life, but every summer she goes home to her parents in Gloucestershire for a month. A chance encounter with a man while she is out walking in the countryside leads to an intense, whirlwind romance. In just a week, Sarah and Eddie fall in love. But then he sets off on holiday. They make promises to stay in touch and get together again after his holiday.
But then he doesn’t call…
Sarah is sure something bad must have happened. She tries everything, but she can’t get hold of Eddie. Her friends tell her to give up, but she can’t stop trying. She is convinced they had something special and that Eddie would have called if he could.
There is a reason Eddie didn’t call. Because neither of them had been completely honest with each other. What are Sarah and Eddie hiding?
The Man Who Doesn’t Call definitely starts out as romantic fiction, but then it takes a darker and increasingly desperate turn. Sarah begins to doubt her sanity as she chases every possible lead to Eddie.
The twist about two-thirds of the book is brilliant and changes everything. It is very similar to my favourite twist ever. I won’t tell you what my favourite twist ever is, as that could be a spoiler.
As a Gloucestershire resident, I also loved the setting of the book. I’m from the other side of the county, but I am still familiar with the towns and roads which are mentioned. As far as I can tell, Rosie Walsh has got them right and not moved them around or made up new ones. I always find it frustrating when an author makes a real setting into a semi-fictional one.
If you’re looking for a page turner, I would definitely recommend The Man Who Doesn’t Call – whether you like romantic fiction or prefer your reading a bit darker.